(Abilene, Texas – December 27, 2021) McMurry University is saddened to learn of the passing of distinguished alumna Sarah Ragle Weddington ’64 on December 26, 2021. Weddington attended McMurry graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English in 1964 before attending law school at the University of Texas at Austin, receiving her Juris Doctorate in 1967. In 1992, McMurry honored Weddington with the Distinguished Alumni Award for “setting a path for others to follow as servant leaders.” She supported McMurry by establishing the Ragel Family Endowment for faculty development and the Alexander-Weddington Pre-Law Scholarship Endowment. Weddington’s father, Rev. H. Doyle Ragel, was a 1940 graduate of McMurry.
Weddington is most notably known for her work on issues affecting women through her many roles, including being an attorney, legislator, and presidential advisor. As a young lawyer, Weddington and Linda Coffee argued and won the landmark case of Roe v. Wade before the U.S. Supreme Court. She went on to a public service career, including serving as the first woman elected to the Texas Legislature from Austin-Travis County, the first woman general counsel of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and an assistant to the President of the United States Jimmy Carter.
Weddington was a founding member of Leadership Texas and Leadership America, which develops women leaders by focusing their attention on the issues of today that impact their professional and personal lives, and communities. As the founder of The Weddington Center, she was recognized for her dedication “to helping individuals develop their personal leadership skills and to increasing the number of women who hold leadership positions.”
“The McMurry community has lost a female trailblazer,” said McMurry University President Sandra S. Harper. “Whether arguing before the Supreme Court, serving in the Texas Legislature, or teaching in a university classroom, Weddington’s career was clearly a groundbreaking one, and the issues for which she is the most known continue to resonate throughout American society today.”